Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday February 17 2014

Antony and Cleopatra continues, bit by bit. How am I going to find something to write about in this play I cannot take to my heart? We’re in Act 4 now, maybe something will happen. Well, of course something will happen and everybody knows what. But I don’t want to write about that. Oh well, I’ll figure something out.  This week, anyway, has had a few more sightings than for awhile, so I’ll get to the report.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Grimalkin is a spirit who calls the witches in Macbeth. It was a common name for a cat in Shakespeare’s time.  If we had a cat, we’d name it Grimalkin, but we don’t.
  • Guinevere, as we all know, is the Queen of Camelot, and her name is derived from the Welsh Gwenhwyfar. Her story varies in the legends. I like the one in the most recent version, the BBC series Merlin, best. Shakespeare mentions her in Love’s Labour’s Lost to evoke ancient times.  Even in his day Camelot was an ancient legend.

Shakespeare sightings:
  • To complete London the Biography, Peter Ackroyd has an essay on sources and mentions Shakespeare as one of them.  As well he might.
  • In another book about London, Shakespeare’s London on 5 Groats a Day by Richard Tames, Shakespeare is mentioned often. Hardly surprising with a title like that. There isn’t much that we don’t already know but here are a few items of interest:
    • Shakespeare’s father was once an ale-conner, i.e. an official appointed to test the quality of ale and beer on sale to the public
    • It’s always fun to read about words and phrases invented by Shakespeare.  A few favourites: in a pickle, blinking idiot, good riddance, vanish into thin air
    • Venus and Adonis cost one shilling when bought in a stall at St. Paul’s churchyard
    • One might run into Shakespeare in Clerkenwell at the office of the Master of the Revels, where approval to present a play on stage must be sought.
  • In The Big Bang Theory Amy wants to go to a costume party with Sheldon as Romeo and Juliet.  Sheldon wants to go as R2-D2 and C-3PO. Silly Amy.
  • In the novel The House at Riverton by Kate Morton there is a sea of troubles and a Shakespeare room where pictures of the heroines “from the finest English playwright that ever lived” hang. Romeo and Juliet are mentioned and Tennyson is badly quoted and accredited to Shakespeare.
  • The theatre supplement for the spring season has been issued in Dagens Nyheter. Not a whole lot of Shakespeare is happening but these items are listed:
    • Hamlet, a Stand Up at the Boulevard Theatre in Stockholm
    • William the Musical, also at the Boulevard as well as the Victoria in Malmö and Storsjöteatern in Östersund.
    • A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Stadsteatern in Malmö
    • And there’s a big advert for Richard III at Dramaten here in Stockholm which we will be seeing on March 8.
  • On the big crossword in DN on Valentine’s Day, there were two clues: the town where Romeo and Juliet lived and the kind of verse Shakespeare is known for.
  • This is an oblique sighting: In The Ninth Gate Johnny Depp’s character, a shady book dealer, is said to be the kind of person Julius Caesar didn’t trust. In case this one is too vague for you, see my text on Julius Caesar.
Further since last time:
  • Continued reading aloud: Antony and Cleopatra
Posted this week:
  • This Monday report.


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